Cantwell and Murray Recommend Two Highly-Qualified, Historic Candidates for Washington State U.S. Attorney Positions

Nick Brown of Seattle would be the first African American U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington; Vanessa Waldref would be the first female U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

WASHINGTON DC – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statements after sending recommendations to the Biden-Harris Administration to appoint Nick Brown as U.S. Attorney in the Western District and Vanessa Waldref as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

“We are putting forth highly qualified historic choices to join the Biden administration as U.S. Attorneys for the Western and Eastern Districts of Washington,” Senator Cantwell said. “These nominees represent the diversity of our state. Vanessa Waldref would be the first woman to represent Eastern Washington, and Nick Brown would be the first African American to represent Western Washington. They will do important work enforcing federal law and civil rights.”

“I am proud to put forward these two highly qualified and historic candidates for Washington’s Western and Eastern District Attorneys,” Senator Murray said. “Washington state’s U.S. Attorneys will play critical roles in confronting challenges ranging from racial injustice, police reform, and the proliferation of white supremacy, to key climate and environmental matters, and so much more. Both Nick and Vanessa have served their country, their state, and their communities with honor and distinction, and they would both bring the experience, insight, and leadership needed to combat those challenges, promote equity, and affirm justice in these crucial roles. I encourage President Biden to appoint them, and the Senate to confirm them, as quickly as possible.”

Brown, a graduate of Harvard Law School and Morehouse College, is currently a partner at Pacifica Law Group and previously served as General Counsel to Governor Inslee. Prior to that, Brown served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Seattle, where he appeared before every federal judge in the Western District of Washington and prosecuted over 100 individual cases. Brown has significant experience in key matters, including criminal justice policy, marijuana regulation, and a track record of working collaboratively with Washington state’s sovereign native tribes, as well as deep community ties in the Western District. If appointed, Brown would be the first African American to serve as U.S. Attorney in the Western District.

Waldref, a graduate of Georgetown Law and a native and current resident of Spokane, is currently a Trial Attorney at the Department of Justice Environment & Natural Resource Division. She has been a career prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District, where she has handled a broad variety of civil and criminal matters that impact the state of Washington, forged strong relationships with regional stakeholders and Indian Country, and developed a deep understanding of local issues such as the federally-owned Hanford nuclear site. If appointed, Waldref would be the first woman to serve as U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District.